change agent, the “significant other,”nwill be working with the children in an”mentoring program” or perhaps as an”certified parent educator.” This newn”certified parent educator” deliversnfree medical care, free nutrition counseling,nfree mental health services, andnfree food — all things formerly providednby the parents.nAs time goes on children spendnmore time at school than at home.nServices are increased. The parentsndiscover that the schools will providenfree daycare, free overnight care, andnfree camps, as well as free education.nAll these free services come, however,nat the price of sometimes significantninterference in family life. One youngnmother, Gabrielle Copp, reports thatnshe was outraged at the arrogance ofnthe “state certified parent,” who toldnher husband he could not spank theirnchildren. When her husband wouldnnot agree the parent educator tried tonget Gabby to side with her against him.nThe Copps are withdrawing from thenPAT program.nFamily advice is strongly discouragednnot only by the parent educatorsnbut by a PAT-distributed booklet entitlednWhat Now? A Practical Guide fornParents with Young Children by M.S.nLinebarger and R.N. Bonebrake. “Ignoringninformation offered by a grandparentnor relative is sometimes difficult,”nthey write. “Family membersnoften have the parent and child’s bestninterest at heart, but too many suggestionsncan make the new parent feelnincompetent or even feel like a failure.nThe new parent needs to learn to makendecisions independently and not dependnon others for advice.”nAs Nida Clayton writes (she is anmother of five who has recently left thenPAT program), “In light of these statementsnI find it very interesting thatn[Linebarger and Bonebrake] go on fornthe next three paragraphs to advisennew parents to read parenting manualsn. . . and books on child rearing andnparticipate in educational programsnprovided by mental health centers,nhealth departments, the Division ofnFamily Services, and their local Parentsnas First Teachers.” The goal is, clearly,nnot to encourage the parents to makenindependent decisions, because theynmight make wrong decisions (such asnthe decision to spank their children).nThe goal is to undercut the extendednas well as immediate family, so that thenparents depend on the state supportnsystem, whose experts know so muchnbetter what it is children need.nSome parents may object to the newngoals of the change agents in thenschool. However, the parent educatornisn’t responsible to the parent but’ tonthe state. In the state of Missouri PATnis also called a child abuse preventionnprogram, and the parent educator isnalso a child abuse investigator, one ofnwhose jobs is to create abuse statistics.nMissouri law (and similar laws are inneffect throughout the United States)nrequires that “mandated reporters” reportnto the child abuse hotline anythingnthey “suspect” might be abuse or neglect.nSince the definition of childnabuse or neglect is very broad, anynsubjective determination made by then”mandated reporter” — here the “parentneducator” — must be reported tonthe hotline. Failure to do so is a Class Anmisdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000nfine and one year in jail. As a homenvisitor, PAT’S parent educator carries anbig club.nFor instance, if a child isn’t happy atnschool or acts up, talks too much, ornotherwise misbehaves, the “certifiednparent educator” may prescribe mentalnhealth services or perhaps a drug likenRitalin. A booklet distributed widely bynthe Missouri Division of Family Servicesnstates that one reason for a childnabuse hotline call is “refusal to takenrecommended services.” If the parentnrefuses the recommended services, thenstate can remove the child from thenhome, place it in a residential treatmentncenter, and force the parent tontake psychological counseling for annindefinite period. “Failure to provide”nis, even now, a frequent reason fornputting children in state approved facilities.nEven if the child is allowed tonreturn home, the state may choose tonretain legal custody and control.nA couple of years ago I visited 17nDFS offices around the state to questionnsome “mandated reporters” whonare child abuse investigators. One ofnmy questions was this: “Just what isnchild abuse and neglect and how donyou define it?” Some officials gave menxeroxed pages from their notebooksnand checklists. Each set was differentnand often conflicted.nOne man listed as a risk factornfamilies who are part of a subculture.nnnHe couldn’t define a subculture. Anothernsaid, “We don’t have checklistsnor anything like that.” Another gavenme a copy of her checklist of “indicators.”nOne said, “I would never tell anparent not to use a belt.” Another said,n”Whether or not to use a belt is ‘anjudgment call.'” Still another said,n”Any instrument other than the handnis a weapon and that is child abuse.”n”There is a state-approved standardnof living,” said another. But hencouldn’t tell me what it was, althoughnhe said it was “higher now than it usednto be.” “Having a dirty house or diapernrash is neglect,” said another. “Beingnlate for school is an indicator.” “Yellingnat a child is emotional abuse.”nAll this attention has a financialnmotive. Head counts in public schoolsnare essential, because the number ofnchildren served determines the fundingnlevel. There is a bounty on all living,nbreathing children. If the Parents asnTeachers social workers can get onenchild into the system and keep himnthere, funding increases. So adding tonthe school population becomes a tasknof primary importance. At the 1982nMissouri Education Conference onnthe Young Years, Ed Pino, an educatornfrom Denver, declared, “The five toneighteen-year-old market is dead. Wenshould have learned that a long timenago. Basically, we’re in the two tonfive-year-old market. . . . The soonernwe latch onto that market, the soonernwe won’t have to pink-slip teachers, thensooner we won’t have to close up anynschools because of declining enrollment,nand the sooner we will be gettingnthe kids when we need to bengetting them.” (At this same conferencenRitalin-drugged children werenput on display. The children werenbused to the conference and made tonsit on mats on the floor, except whennbatting beach balls suspended from thenceiling by strings. Attention was callednto their sluggish physical and intellectualnresponses that changed as thendrugs wore off and new doses werenadministered.)nThe Parents as Teachers programndoesn’t wait until a child is two yearsnold. PAT initiates children and parentsninto the system before a child is bornnby recruiting pregnant women in prenatalnclinics and private doctors’ offices.nIf PAT doesn’t capture themnthere, the Department of Education innFEBRUARY 1991/43n